Malaysia 23rd most competitive economy

Maintains its position as the most competitive among emerging economies in East Asia and Paci c region


Malaysia moved up two positions to 23rd place in the latest world competitiveness report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

According to the Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2017-2018, Malaysia is among the world’s top 25 most competitive economies and has maintained its position as the most competitive among emerging economies in East Asia and Pacific region.

“This latest ranking affirms the strength of Malaysia’s macroeconomic fundamentals and that Malaysia’s economic policies are on the right track,” International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said in a statement.

“It is important to note that all the countries ranked above Malaysia are developed and of high income economies,” he said.

The GCR is an annual report published by the WEF based on the Global Competitiveness Index, involving 140 economies, which combines 114 indicators that integrate both macro and micro economic aspects of competitiveness. These indicators are grouped into 12 pillars comprising institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.

However, Malaysia recorded a decline in six pillars but still maintained its rank among the top 50 in each of the total 12 pillars.

According to the Malaysia Productivity Corp (MPC), Malaysia performed most strongly in financial market development (16th) and made the most improvement in health and primary education pillar, advancing 14 positions to 30th.

In the infrastructure pillar, Malaysia advanced two places to 22nd and in macroeconomic environment, gained one position to 34th.

“We were also ranked in the top 10 positions in 10 indicators namely inflation (1st), strength of investor protection (3rd), government procurement of advanced technology products (4th), burden of government regulation (5th), pay and productivity (5th), agriculture policy costs (7th), availability of scientist and engineers (7th), extent of staff training (9th), venture capital availability (9th) and extent of marketing (10th),” Mustapa said.

He also emphasised the continuous excellent performance of Malaysia’s exports as the country has been receiving healthy flows of foreign direct investments.

“Meanwhile, we also hope to do well in our rankings with continuous improvement in soft and hard infrastructure,” he said.

“The country’s competitiveness can only be improved if there is a coordinated action between the government, private sector and civil society.”

The WEF also highlights that continuous benchmarking and monitoring are needed to ensure that public-private collaboration will result in more forward-looking policies for the benefit of everyone.

On the signs of slowing productivity across advanced and emerging economies as alerted by the report, Mustapa said: “Malaysia holds the belief that productivity will be among the game changers for a revolutionary remake of our economy.

“We are currently rolling out the Malaysia Productivity Blueprint, which will not only facilitate the ease of doing business, but also support the private sector in their technological and innovation drive.”

MPC DG Datuk Mohd Razali Hussain believes that while the improvement should be welcomed, the country must not get too overwhelmed and lose sight of future challenges.

“The landscape is rapidly changing and thus we must ramp up our efforts in fostering greater public-private collaboration and being on the forefront of future trends, including Industry 4.0,” he told reporters at the media briefing on the GCR yesterday.

In this latest ranking, Razali said Malaysia has overtaken Ireland and Qatar. “We remained ahead of economies such as Republic of Korea, China, Iceland and Estonia. We also maintained among 20 economies in the transition stage from efficiency-driven to innovation-driven.”